It is outrageous that countries such as Pakistan, Turkey and Gulf states, who have led global efforts in support of the Rohingya refugees, have turned their back on the repression of Uyghur Muslims in China, American lawmakers have said.
“We ought to especially call out the Muslim countries that are saying nothing,” Congressman Brad Sherman said during a Congressional hearing Wednesday. “Whether that be Turkey, Pakistan, the Gulf states, it is simply outrageous that they do so little to help the Rohingya and turn their back completely on Uyghurs,” Sherman said. Uyghurs – a Muslim minority group inside China – have been reportedly subject to increasing repression by Chinese authorities in Xinjiang autonomous region in the country’s northwest.
Human Rights Watch says China is holding at least a million Uyghurs in “re-education camps” with the crackdown against the minority group growing since 2016. Sherman alleged that China is repressing its Uyghur population on a massive scale.
“The Chinese government has, as noted in a recent UN meeting, turned Xinjiang into something resembling a massive internment camp shrouded in secrecy, a sort of no rights zone.” Testifying before a Congressional committee, Nury Turkel, chairman of the board of Uyghur Human Rights Project, said Pakistan has had a horrible history collaborating with China. Turkel said Malaysian leader Anwar Ibrahim is the only Muslim leader to have recently expressed concern on the human rights violations of Uyghurs.
“Pakistan has been very supportive of Chinese effort to silence the Pakistani-Uyghur citizens even,” Turkel alleged. “In Gulf states, particularly the UAE, Egypt has a horrible track record of deporting Uyghur students, which has been also reported by various media outlets. Malaysia, in a previous administration, has also deported some Uyghurs,” he said.
Congressman Ted Yoho alleged that the Chinese army brought Xinjiang into modern-day China in 1949 by invasion. “Today, the [Communist] Party is seeking to eliminate Xinjiang’s uniqueness using methods ripped straight from fiction. Authorities have turned the region into a high-tech-militarised police state using cutting-edge technology to subject normal people to pervasive surveillance, including A.I. facial and voice recognition and forced genetic sampling,” he alleged.
Sherman said there are accounts of Uyghurs being sent back by Middle East countries in violation of international obligations. Coming out in support of Uyghurs, Congressman Dana Rohrabacher alleged that the Chinese government was also behind the “slaughter of the Muslims” down in Myanmar. “We care about Muslim people in China. We care about them in Burma,” he said.